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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

228                                              MEDICAL  JURISPRUDENCE

medical examiner. These articles help one materially in judging as to
whether a particular weapon had caused the alleged injuries or not. The
clothes should also be examined for the presence of cuts, rents, tears or
burns coinciding with the wounds on the underlying parts of the body, but
these might not coincide with the wounds, if the garment worn at the time
of the assault was very loose and was disarranged during the struggle. The
clothes should then be properly marked, sealed and handed? over to the
police.

Dangerous Weapon.—The sixth column of the form refers to the
description of the weapon as to whether it is dangerous or not. It need not
be filled in, as sections 324 and 326, I.P.C., describe a dangerous weapon as
any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which,
used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death (vide Appendix IV).

Age of Injury.—lax the column of remarks the age of injury should be
noted. It is frequently found that medical officers do not mention in their
report the time when an injury was inflicted, but it is not fair to do so,
inasmuch as "the guilt or innocence of a person charged with criminal
wounding or with robbery, burglary, or dacoity may be proved from the
injury found on the body of his victim or on his own body, for its appear-
ance may or may not correspond to the time when it is alleged to have been
inflicted according to the prosecution theory. Moreover, it is also possible
that all the injuries found on a person might not have beenHtfiflicted on the
same day.

On July 9, 1931, I examined a Mahomedan woman alleged to have received certain
injuries during a quarrel which took place four days ago. I found an incised wound,
1" by 1/6" by 1/6", over the crown of the head f" to the right of the middle line and
4" above the forehead. It was quite fresh and bleeding and appeared to have been
self-inflicted on that very day. She had also a bruise, f" by J", on the palmar surface
of the right middle finger below its second joint, and an abrasion with a dried scab,
iA/ by V* over the left shoulder blade towards its lower part. These injuries appeared
to be about four days old. It appeared that she received only the latter two injuries
during the alleged quarrel, but to make the offence more serious she herself inflicted
the wound on her head on the day of the examination.

It is not easy to give the exact time of infliction of any injury, but an
approximate time can be given from the data given below. Hence it is
always necessary to mention " about" when giving the period of an injury.

Data to ascertain the Age of Injury:—

1.   The age of a bruise may be ascertained from the colour changes
which its ecchyrnosis undergoes.   These changes commence from eighteen
to twenty-four hours after its infliction.

2.     The age of a wound may be ascertained from observing the follow-
ing appearances of its healing process : —

Hie divided surfaces of an aseptic incised wound which are in
apposition are covered with lymph in thirty-six hours. The edges will join
together in three days, and the wound heals by first intention by the seventh
day, when a red, tender, linear scar is visible. Such a wound on a vascular
part like the face heals rapidly in from three to five days.

A wound, which is not thoroughly aseptic and is gaping owing to loss
of tissue, heals by the formation of granulation tissue. Its edges are bound
together by blood and lymph during the first twelve hours. About the same
time the margins are red and slightly swollen with leucocytic infiltration.

The vascular endothelium shows distinct proliferative changes, and
vascular buds are given off from the minute vessels at the periphery during
twenty-four hours.

A complete network of new capillary vessels is formed in thirty-six
hours.